Weekend Forecast for January 3-5, 2020

By Reagen Sulewski

January 2, 2020

I'm sure this house is FINE.

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The "blockbuster all year round" strategy has led some studios to consider just about any time of year to be the right time for a tentpole movie. No one's quite brave enough to stick quality in theaters just a couple of days after New Year's though, and that remains true in 2020, with not even any expansions testing out the weekend.

The Grudge was one of the more successful remakes of a Japanese horror film, following the land rush that took place after the sudden success of The Ring in 2002. The story of a vengeful spirit living within a house that kills all who enter it, it was a slow burn of a film, all moodiness and jump scares. Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar at the height of her fame, it managed a $39 million opening and over $100 million domestic, virtually all on the basis of getting there first. It was one of the worst of the bunch, but to be fair, the Japanese film it was based on was also pretty silly. There's little better example of how films can run through fads. It wasn't the worst of the bunch (the less said about Pulse, the better) but few of them were worth

The remake, arriving this weekend, follows mostly the same script, except for moving the film's location to the US instead of Japan. The action of the movie is started off by John Cho and Betty Gilpin, realtors trying to sell the house. After entering to check out the condition, Cho encounters a bathtub filled with a dark black substance, which then reaches out and grabs him. This is why you hire professionals to do the inspections. Now that he's entered the house, he's as good as done for, as the spirit, the remnant of a horrific crime, will chase after him until he's consumed. Following that, a police detective (Andrea Riseborough) is the next to come across the curse, in the course of trying to figure out what happened. Demian Bichir, Lin Shaye, Jacki Weaver, William Sadler and Frankie Faison also add to the cast, but it's a fairly low budget and low-wattage affair.

Reviews are non-existent, which is a review in itself, but a bigger problem than quality or lack thereof is that horror has largely moved on, with Blumhouse and A24 showing the way forward now. An attempt to reboot The Ring franchise in 2017 was met with angry indifference and it grossed just $27 million. This has a similar feel to it as far as its reception and should be in for an $11 million weekend.




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Christmas week saw a few distinct winners and a few films which simply faded away, but we were left without any surprise runaway hits, films that used the holiday week to turn themselves from minor hits into stunning successes. This, likely due to Star Wars sucking up most of the oxygen, as well as the sequel-heavy lineup for the holidays. You can't have a surprise hit when you already know what you're expecting.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker did retain its top spot but also demonstrated that it's impossible for enormous opening films to hold their box office even under the best of circumstances, dropping by 60 per cent from its opening weekend. This is only notable in that virtually the entire slate of films from last weekend saw an increase, or a very slight decline. Such is the magic of Christmas! The upshot is that it gets out to the otherside of the holiday trailing The Last Jedi by about $125 million, and is likely to wind up with around $500-525 million domestic, around par with Rogue One. As harsh judgments of a franchise go, it's a softer one than most, but it absolutely represents a missed opportunity for Disney and J.J. Abrams. There's a reason why you're hearing rumblings about moving away from trilogy concepts for future Star Wars films. It should still easily win the weekend with $42 million.

Jumanji: The Next Level had a solid increase to $35 million over Christmas weekend, but it's still sitting around $40 million behind the last Jumanji film after the same number of days of release. That film saw around 40 per cent of its business come after this point, which would still be a solid $350 million take for this edition. However, that was also due to a stronger than typical post-Christmas run, which is no guarantee for a sequel like this. I'd look for $22 million this weekend, but it's going to need impressive legs to even come close to matching its predecessor.

Among other returning films, Frozen II also had a strong Christmas week, surprising no one. Now sitting at $435 million, it's likely to see around $11 million this frame, with $500 million still as a solid shot for a final mark. The best of last weekend's new films, Little Women, opened to $16 million and launched itself into Oscar contention. Legs should be evident here, and $11 million here is also reasonable. Spies in Disguise, the big family competition for Frozen II, was a major miss, opening to only $13 million, and largely missed the Christmas bonanza. This should see around $9 million this weekend. Knives Out was the percentage winner of the holidays, increasing its weekend take by more than half, and has turned itself into a like $160 million film. It should see $7 million this frame. Uncut Gems was a bit of a one-day wonder, earning $6 million on Christmas Day, which drifted down to $10 million over the weekend. That opening day should have translated into $16 million, which represents a harsh judgment about the film and its expectation. Apparently you can never stop being Adam Sandler once you're Adam Sandler. It should bring in about $5 million over this weekend.

The worst opinion of the week was reserved for Cats, which is well on its way to be a cult camp classic, and the horrific takes on the release of the trailer were proven correct. Even "so bad it's amazing" reviews weren't enough to buoy it, and this film is headed towards being a total disaster and $25 million domestic.


Forecast: Weekend of January 3-5, 2020
Rank
Film
Number of
Sites
Changes in Sites
from Last
Estimated
Gross ($)
1 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker 4,406 0 42.3
2 Jumanji: The Next Level 4,134 -93 21.9
3 Frozen II 3,175 -90 11.7
4 The Grudge 2,642 New 11.4
5 Little Women 3,308 0 11.4
6 Spies in Disguise 3,502 0 9.0
7 Knives Out 2,142 +120 7.3
8 Uncut Gems 2,686 +338 5.4
9 Bombshell 1,721 +241 3.3
10 Cats 2,902 -478 2.5

     


 
 

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